martedì 25 dicembre 2012
Just add firstname.lastname@example.org to your GTalk buddies, and you can start firing off questions. Lifehacker suggests that the same types of queries supported by Google SMS will work, though we didn't have any luck getting a response out of the Guru with phrases like "score detroit red wings" or "sushi R3N 1Y1."
Still, Guru does answer a good variety of questions and it works right within your favorite IM app. It's well worth adding to your friend list, especially for getting answers on the go on your mobile device of choice.
We're curious, though -- how many of you are still printing? Like our pals at Engadget, our printers have been mostly gathering dust for the last few years.
Santa Rockstar is a Guitar Hero-style game featuring rock 'n roll versions of popular Christmas songs and Santa Clause. You must help Santa deliver presents in the Merry Christmas Stage sled by touring around the world with the Reindeer Band. If you like Guitar Hero and Tap Tap Revolution type games, rock music, and Santa Clause, then Santa Rockstar is a must-have.
Between five different stages, two of which must be unlocked, there are 21 songs included with Santa Rockstar. There are also a lot of different guitars, picks, pedals, and amps available to boost your performance and a special Rock Power skill that helps you rack up those points.
There are four different characters available in Rockstar Santa: Santa Rockstar, Genny The Gingerbread Guitar Legend, Rudolph the Rock Lord, and Santa Jaws. Characters and other items must be purchased in the store with coins that can be earned during gameplay or bought as in-app purchases. You can also earn more coins by connecting to Facebook and sharing your scores with your friends.
Seriously, this game rocks.
- Free - Download now
It took a long while, but The Wall Street Journal has finally come to Apple's iOS Newsstand. The paper joins thousands of other publications that are publishing via the magazine/newspaper service, and like many, the Journal's gone for a traditional layout that echoes that of the dead tree version. That said, the Newsstand distribution of the Journal is significantly more flexible than its paper cousin, offering full-screen image viewing, three text sizes, social network sharing options (that frustratingly don't use the built-in iOS sharing and require separate authorizations), and faster navigation between articles. It's not quite the authentically-digital that is The Magazine, but it's better than the PNG/JPG images that many publications are unfortunately vomiting into Newsstand.
The app uses a traditional newspaper-style layout, putting the headlines and preview ledes for multiple stories on a single page with an assortment of thumbnail images as well as larger stand-alone photos and videos (the only way you're getting video with the paper version is by using it as a massive flipbook). Navigation between pages of both the article preview grids and within the articles themselves is accomplished with a simple swipe to the left or right, though you'll have to contend with numerous fullscreen ads interspersed throughout. Apparently the $12.99 the paper asks per month for an iPhone subscription or the $21.99 a month they want if you want full access on an iPad (which also includes iPhone and website access) isn't enough to cover their needs, though it is worth noting that's the same price the Journal charges outside of the App Store system, and through Newsstand Apple's going to be taking a 30% cut. Additionally, the pinch gesture works as a back command, dropping you out of the article and into the previews, and from there to the 'start screen'.
As is standard for Newsstand subscriptions, the latest daily edition of The Wall Street Journal will download itself in the background. The Newsstand edition of the Journal also allows you to save articles for offline reading and offers up-to-the-second stock quotes and market news - it is The Wall Street Journal, after all. Many of the articles throughout the app are marked with little key icons, indicating that you're going to need a paid subscription to read them. There are still plenty of articles that aren't locked down, though those are mostly general news you can get anywhere and not the in-depth market and economic reporting for which the Journal is known.
By accepting the 30% cut demanded by Apple, The Wall Street Journal is acknowledging that they need to be present in full on smartphones and tablets like the iPhone and iPad. You're welcome to balk at the monthly cost of the subscription (especially if you're wanting to read the Journal on an iPad, as the same content is offered to smartphone users, it's just... smaller), but that's increasingly becoming the rule when it comes to 'old' media making the transition to new platforms.
- Free ($12.99-$21.99 subscription optional) -�Download now
Once in a while we'd come across some cool DIY projects inspired by Doctor Who, the world's longest-running sci-fi TV show, but nothing beats this little TARDIS that would actually make you gasp out the classic line: "It's bigger on the inside!" Greg Kumparak, a former writer of sister site TechCrunch, initially built nothing more than just a convincing model of the iconic blue police box (with a functioning light at the top) by hand, but soon afterwards he wanted to somehow give it an interior as well.
By utilizing the Blender 3D creation suite (which was a first for Kumparak), Unity 3D engine and Qualcomm's Vuforia AR SDK, the result is an Android app that renders the 3D interior atop the random wave-like pattern -- visible once the door's removed -- on the TARDIS in real time (no pun intended). Once you've seen the demo video after the break, you'd probably agree that Kumparak's only one sonic screwdriver away from becoming an honorary Time Lord. For more detail on how and why this project was put together, head over to Kumparak's blog post.
Filed under: Misc
Source: Greg Kumparak
Few things in this world will reaffirm your holiday spirit faster than watching a dozen or so uniformed service people cover a room in Christmas wrapping. Also on that short list, it so happens, is spotting one of the aforementioned troops hand-feed an overzealous and noticeably plump squirrel who's anxiously scratching on the door to get in. It's a strangely Snow White-esque moment that unfolds minutes after we set up our gear in the conference room of the Leadership Development Center -- a drab, unassuming office space in the middle of Colorado Springs' Peterson Air Force Base that serves as a training facility for 11 months out of the year. But now, in early December, there's a transformation occurring, as men and women in various shades of camouflage paper the space with Christmas spirit in record time.
For one month a year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) converts this area into holiday central for NORAD's Santa Tracker, a half-century-old program that has become a thing of legend -- a curious juxtaposition of warfare preparedness and storybook magic. It's one that, somehow fittingly, is rooted in a mistake -- a phone number misprinted in a 1955 Sears catalog, prompting local children to call Santa's "private number." Those calls from excited boys and girls were routed, the legend goes, to the big red phone in the war room of NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), where quick-thinking Col. Harry Shoup asked his troops to play along. Now, 57 years later, it's a massive undertaking, as volunteers in military garb and Santa hats answer calls from children in hundreds of countries.
lunedì 24 dicembre 2012
OmmWriter attempts to take that aesthetic and make it somehow more spiritual, with three picturesque backgrounds and ambient background audio tracks (there are seven of each in the paid version).
I'm of two minds about this app. On the one hand, yes, it's beautiful. But if you want music as a background to your writing, why not pick your own soundtrack with Winamp or Foobar2000 running in the background?
OmmWriter also offers three keyboard-clicking sounds, which are kind of nice. None of these features are groundbreaking, really. OmmWriter could be seen as a way to gently ease into the world of distraction-free writing -- in case something like WriteMonkey's dark background is just too oppressive for you.
After the fold you can see a video showcasing several of OmmWriter's features and creative soundscapes.
The murmurs surrounding a 10-inch Nokia tablet are growing louder, and they suggest that the company won't just follow the herd. Tipsters for The Verge claim that the Windows RT slate would center on a Surface-style keyboard cover with its own twists. While the add-on would shelter the screen, it would also include a battery to supplement the 10-hour lifespan of the tablet proper. Not enough? It could carry a pair of USB ports and serve as a kickstand. There may be a chance of a US release, as well: Nokia's tablet would supposedly include cellular access and head to AT&T in the US, much like its Booklet 3G ancestor. We're not surprised that the Finnish firm won't comment on the rumor, but we might not have long to wait for verification if the early 2013 release proves real.
Source: The Verge
Sure, Google's not in the Santa Tracking NORAD cabal anymore, but that's not stopping it from rolling out St. Nicholas-related goodies. It just launched a series of new games, including a chimney / gift dropping challenge, a rocket-powered elf race and a Santa chat that lets you send a droll holiday greeting to your "hoodlum besties." You can even play Rudolph for a lark and drag Santa around in his sleigh -- badly, in our case -- so check the source (hint: click the red box at the bottom left) for some holiday cheer, Mountain View-style.
Source: Google Santa Tracker
The goal is to get as much sand as you possibly can out of the maze and into the bucket at the bottom of the screen. You need to rotate your maze every which way to get the sand rolling around it. You then try to direct the sand to one of the exits of the maze, and hopefully into the bucket. It took me several tries to actually get sand into the bucket, but that might be due to the fact that I didn't even realize the bucket was there at first. Things improved significantly after that.
As you level up, the mazes get more complicated, with moving parts and other things making your life more difficult. Once you manage to get through all these obstacles and get enough sand into your bucket, you can move on.
As I mentioned, this is not an easy game, but it's highly addictive. The graphics remind me of some long lost game from the 80s, but this just proves that you don't need super graphics and crazy sound to make a game work. There's a soothing guitar track playing in the background and that's it, as far as I could hear, and you can enjoy it just as much with no sound at all.
If you like a fun physics challenge, don't miss out on this one!
Of course, such a hack isn't illegal as such -- every photo you take with Color is public. With FakeLocation you are simply circumventing Color's very limited location-oriented security mechanism. It does undermine Color's usefulness (and uniqueness), though -- if nefarious types can sit in their bedroom or basement and eavesdrop on classy dinner parties and wild night club soirees, people might be less inclined to share personal photos with those around them.
Fortunately, both for Color and its users, this is an easy security hole to plug -- at least in the short term. The app (or server-side) code simply checks to see if the user has 'teleported' an impossibly large distance, without any intermediate steps in between. In the long term, though, Color's users must be aware that its social graph is completely public. Color's users must realize that every photo they upload is visible by anyone, from any place.
After the break, just to elucidate a little on Color's actual business model and ultimate intention, we have two amazing quotes from Bill Nguyen, Color's founder.
LG only experimented with a Google TV lineup in 2012; for 2013, it's committing to the concept in earnest. The 47- and 55-inch sizes we know today should be joined by 42-, 50- and 60-inch models that cater both to frugal viewers and those who like to live large. We should also see the spruced-up designs that come with yearly updates, including newer zero-bezel frames and distinctive stands. We're less surprised by input and software updates -- all of the new screens will ship with voice-enabled Google TV and OnLive support from the get-go, and the company's multi-talented Magic Remote is making its return. LG is remaining coy on further details beyond promising a release sometime in the first half of 2013, although there's a good chance we'll know more in Las Vegas.
Source: LG (translated)